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Diary of the 17th Man – Mar 20

The phalanx of physios looking after the team has been bolstered by three new arrivals from Australia, who were waiting for us when we arrived in Delhi. The Prof has a theory about why they are dressed up to look like Bob Kater, but he refuses to share it with me.

There is a round the clock roster of them working on the Captain’s back – he hasn’t been off the massage table since we got to the hotel, apart from fronting a news conference to say he was hoping to be right to play.

It seems natural that the existing Vice will captain the team if needed, but the whole issue of who will be playing in Friday is still up in the air.  With The Reject Club performing with some distinction when they got a run replacing The Condemned in Mohali, the manouvering to impress the Captain (who’s horizontal) and the Coach (who is trapizoidal) in their capacities as selectors is on in earnest.  Gipper in particular is running an enthusiastic campaign, but Prof’s pretty sure he won’t get enough votes to get his deposit back.  The team spirit is improved, but the individual insecurities are coming to the fore.  The Freak has no worries about his spot in the team, but Mr Darcy, Mantis and Rocket Man are all keen that a) there are three quicks in the team and b) they are one of them.  The good natured competitiveness is being taken out on the batsmen in the practice nets, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it.  Lucky was felled by what the late and great Tony Greig would have called a “norsty delivery”, and took no further part in procedings. His parts were subjected to ice therapy, and there will be no procedings there for some time.

When we got back to the hotel, I passed one of the physios in the hall.  He was off to have a break, rubbing his throbbing muscle-bound digits, having been subbed-off from duty on The Back. Trained not to give anything away under scrutiny, he was stoney faced, but I did manage to get out of him that, unlike in Canberra, there were no knives in the Captain’s back.

Test Eve tomorrow, and 0-4 is looming.  Something’s gotta give.


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© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley


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